Saturday November 01, 2014
April 6th, 2014
In January, superstar Chinese film director Zhang Yimou was fined the equivalent of $1.24 million for having three children in excess of the country's strict, so- called "one-child" family planning standards. It was a significant, possibly record fine, meant in theory to compensate the state for the social and material costs associated with those pesky, extra three lives.
We in the United States grow up celebrating ourselves as the world's most powerful nation, the world's richest nation, the world's freest and most blessed nation.
Sure, technically Norwegians may be wealthier per capita, and the Japanese may live longer, but the world watches the NBA, melts at Katy Perry, uses iPhones to post on Facebook, trembles at our aircraft carriers, and blames the CIA for everything. We're No. 1!
Is there any accountability in American politics for being completely wrong? Is there any cost to those who say things that turn out not to be true and then, when their fabrications or false predictions are exposed, calmly move on to concocting new claims as if they had never made the old ones?
The Supreme Court is pondering Hobby Lobby's argument that Obamacare unlawfully burdens its corporate religious freedom by requiring it to offer employees health insurance coverage for certain forms of contraception.
If the Republican Tea Partiers get their way this nation will soon be by the rich for the rich with no place for the poor. As if the minimum wage was not hurtful enough a national survey has now found that many in the ever popular fast food industry are not even getting that for all the hours they put in. Then there is the latest national budget proposal from Representative Paul Ryan (R. Wis).
There is something truly spectacular about Sheldon Adelson. Witness the parade of Republican supplicants paying tribute in his Las Vegas lair. They would include Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
As chief justice, I have no doubt that John G. Roberts' number one goal is to turn this democracy into a plutocracy. And he's well on his way to doing so.
The last time Congress convened hearings on an automotive safety scandal, during the early 2010 furor over sudden unintended acceleration in Toyotas, the crucial takeaway was how little members of Congress understood cars or the car business. This week, when General Motors Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra testified before committees about her company's safety scandal, the major impression was of how little she seemed to know about her own business.
Michael Lewis' "Flash Boys," his takedown of high-speed stock trading, may be making headlines this week, but it's just one of two books on our economic dysfunctions that are flying off the shelves. While "Flash Boys" explains how the fastest-growing form of trading enriches the few at the expense of the many, the other book, Thomas Piketty's "Capital in the Twenty-First Century," provides a more fundamental and disquieting explanation: how capitalism itself enriches the few at the expense of the many.
Holy 7 million, Batman! The Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, has made a stunning comeback from its shambolic start. As the March 31 deadline for 2014 coverage approached, there was a surge in applications at the "exchanges" - the special insurance marketplaces the law set up. And the original target of 7 million sign-ups, widely dismissed as unattainable, has been surpassed.